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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 NFL Draft Recap

Arr mateys,

A scavenger hunt for some talent aye? In need of play-makers arrr yee? Well, come walk the blank you silly landlubbers and look what yee got in thee treasure chest. This is a draft class mascot Captain Fear should be proud about. There may not be any lasses’ for him to dine, but he did acquire some more shipmates and left the scallywags at home. Tampa Bay surely added some good golden nuggets to their ship in hopes to be the next great crew under the Jolly Roger! Will these rookies be great catches from the ocean or will they walk yee plank and become shark bait? Come take a gander along the shore and see what lies in the deep blue sea of this draft class.

-1st Round, Pick #19: O.J. Howard – Tight End (Alabama)

  • It’s been awhile since the Buccaneers have had a dominate tight end to help take over in the passing game. O.J. just could be that guy for Tampa Bay down the road, but for now I anticipate a good mix of O.J. and Cameron Brate. Cameron showed flashes of starter quality talent last year and won’t give up his job easily to the first round rookie. No matter what you think of O.J. or Cameron, the two will form one of the better tight end duos in the league. Feel bad for opposing defensive coordinators this season as this offense could be very scary to defend and keep out of the endzone. Looking at just O.J. though for a moment, he will be a stud and a force to mess with in the near future.

-2nd Round, Pick #50: Justin Evans – Safety (Texas A&M)

  • Probably the weakest link to the defense was at the safety position for Tampa last year. With Chris Conte as an average player and free agent addition J.J. Wilcox being a career back-up thus far and no one really behind those two, Justin looks primed for a starting role in the back half of the secondary. He’s a big hitter that can also cover and make some spectacular interceptions. In a division where you have to play the likes of Drew Bress, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton twice a year, teams will want a guy to defend the deep ball as well as not shying away from making plays along the line of scrimmage. Justin will help out this secondary immensely and will hopefully put fear into some of these receivers trying to go over the middle.

-3rd Round, Pick #84: Chris Godwin – Wide Receiver (Penn State)

  • Mike Evans is big dog on campus and free agent addition DeSean Jackson was brought in to complement Mike and bring a speedy deep threat dimension to the offense while Adam Humphries and Jameis Winston developed a nice rapport last season as well. Chris might not see a lot of targets his first season, but he’ll make do with the limited opportunities handed to him. He was often times Penn States go to guy in the passing game and had huge receiving games. Chris was also considered to be one of the top five receivers to some and getting a talent like that in the third round is a good value selection. With some learning and play time, he could have a prominent role within the offense in a few years and really make a difference on this team.

-3rd Round, Pick #107: Kendall Beckwith – Linebacker (LSU)

  • Tampa doesn’t have the greatest depth at linebacker, so this selection makes a lot of sense. The ceiling is high for Kendall as he could be in play for a starting job as the strong side linebacker spot is wide open for the taking. Some areas of improvement he should try to improve is his open space tackling and covering guys down field if he wants to keep any role he earns. Kendall may start his career on special teams, but he’ll eventually work his way up the ranks on this defense. Before sustaining an ACL injury last year he led the Tiger’s defense in almost every major defensive category and that type of effectiveness can only benefit him at the next level. The question is if Kendall can bounce back from his injury.

-5th Round, Pick #162: Jeremy McNichols – Running Back (Boise State)

  • The last couple running backs from Boise State have had success in the NFL, so why not try to keep the trend going. Oddly enough, one of those former Boise players is current teammate Doug Martin. When Doug is healthy and contributing in the running game, Tampa has been a tough team to control offensively, but when he’s out with an injury or being an inconsistent player the offensive struggles to move the ball at times. Insert Jeremy somewhere into the running rotation and he’ll surely make an impact. Don’t forget Doug is suspended to start this upcoming season, so Jeremy could see the field in an important role early in his career and if he plays at a high enough level, coaches could forget about inconsistent and overpaid Doug Martin.

-7th Round, Pick #223: Stevie Tu’ikolovatu – Nose Tackle (USC)

  • This defense has a lot of good starters, but very few depth players to make an impact or contribute outside of special teams. Laugh at the seventh round selection all you want, but Stevie could very well be a back-up in a nice rotational role behind Chris Baker and Gerald McCoy. Stevie has good character and drive to make an impact along this defensive line. Stevie is a lot better than the seventh round tender he is and he’ll show it on Sundays. He’s quick to get off the ball and wrap up the ball handler in the backfield. Do not sleep on this prospect.

Rubies, gold medallions, and yee bottle of rum is what these Buccaneers gathered in this year’s draft. Hope the NFC South is ready for a battle because Tampa has their cannons loaded and is ready to fire! This team is trending in the right direction and will look to be in post-season play for the first time since 2007. Tampa is hungry after last season’s slight miss of the playoffs, this year they’ll be sure to take advantage and try to get into post-season play. Until next time, have a great day!

-Austin Thomas

 


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